Life in a Frozen World: Wildlife of Antarctica
by Mary Batten; illus by Thomas Gonzalez
40 pages; ages 6-10
Peachtree Publishing Company, 2020
Antarctica is the coldest, driest place on Earth, writes Mary Batten. Though it is covered with ice, Antarctica is the largest desert on our planet. That’s because it never rains there and when it does snow, that snow becomes part of the ice sheet.
“Yet in this extreme environment, life thrives,” Batten writes. Beginning at the bottom of the food chain – with algae and krill – she shows how life has adapted to that frozen continent. Algae, for example, have adapted to the low light conditions below the sea ice. And those teeny tiny krill, each no larger than a thumb, swarm in numbers so high that they can be seen from space. They are keystone species, Batten explains, because they play a key role in Antarctica’s food chains.
Scientists from all over the world are studying Antarctica to learn how climate is threatening the habitats and creatures living there. They are also studying how Antarctica affects weather, ocean currents, and sea levels on our planet.
Back matter includes a map of Antarctica, some fast facts, a glossary, and some resources for curious naturalists. Batten also includes an author’s note about her work with the Cousteau Society and why the chaos of a warming climate is such a critical issue for our future.
On the outside, this looks like any other picture book. But open it up and you find it’s an adventure that appeals to older kids. Though a bit text-dense for bedtime reading, I feel this illustrated book is a perfect fit for teachers and homeschooling families looking for up-to-date, authoritative information about Antarctica. It hits the shelves in November – a perfect month for an adventure into ice and cold.
Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the publisher.